Shutting down a computer closes all programs that are open and exits the operating system safely so hardware isn't damaged and your operating system isn't corrupted. The sections below explain how to shut down a computer, with instructions for different operating systems.
Neither of these versions of Windows have the Start menu. However, with the 8.1 update, Microsoft added the power options button to the upper-right corner of the Start screen that allows users to restart their computer quickly. Click the power options icon (squared in red in the image) and select Restart from the drop-down menu that appears.
If your computer does not shut down using the shut down options in the operating system, you may need to force a shut down. Sometimes a program gets stuck and does not stop running, hardware drivers may be causing issues, the operating system has corrupt system files, or the computer is frozen and nothing works. Each of these cases may require a forced shut down to turn off the computer.
To force a computer shut down, find the computer's power button. The picture is an example of a power button on a computer. Press and hold the power button until the computer turns off, then release the power button.
Performing a forced shut down can cause damage to program and operating system files, and hardware drivers. The files could be corrupted, resulting in errors when you turn the computer on again. A forced shut down should be done as a last resort.